Technical Side of Flight to Oshkosh

My flight to #Osh14 started with a general flight plan.  Actually, several.  I had worked on the route in anticipation of wind and weather management.  I ended up taking a southerly route, as this aligned with winds aloft and also kept me close to my chase crew for the first leg of the flight.

My flight started on Saturday.

I had 5 gallons of fuel on board, and with a strong tailwind at 3000 feet, I headed towards Kansas City.  My ground speed was showing 95 to 100 mph.  My first stop was to be Emporia, but with well less than half a tank of gas used, I just kept on going.   I communicated with my ground crew using texts.

Here’s the flight from the gliderport to Gardiner, KS.  With a very strong southerly wind down low, I landed on a grass runway, and Gardiner became my first fuel stop:

Leg 1


At Gardiner, I added about 3 1/2 gallons of fuel, and I had been in the air about 1:45.

After talking with some local pilots, and discovering that I had a customer based on field, I took off.  I skirted around the south end of the Class D, and stayed out of the Class B / 30NM veil entirely, then headed into Missouri for my next stop.  I was losing some o my tailwind, but still showing probably 75mph ground speed.  Nice.

Leg 2


North Central Missouri Regional airport was my stop, and I picked up more 100LL from the self serve pump.  Of course, I was always adding oil to the fuel for my Polini Thor 250 engine.  It runs 50:1 on the premix.

Now my tailwind left me entirely, and I made a short run barely into Iowa, landing at Bloomfield.

Leg 3Then I headed to Iowa City, where my chase crew met me and brought me lunch.  🙂

Monticello, Iowa was the next stop.  The crew met me again (I got there before they did — nice!) but that is also where the starter motor failed.  Bummer.  Our day ended there.  Christian got it fixed, but we were out of daylight.

The following morning (Sunday morning), I flew from Monticello to Mineral Point, Wisconsin (Iowa County) and I did a very unusual landing into strong wind.  It was at the edge of my skill level, and I don’t want to repeat it.  In winds gusting around 25 knots, I set the plane down, and flared.  With nearly zero forward energy, my ground roll was a literal 6 feet.  I carefully taxiied back to the ramp, and waited for the ground crew to arrive.

We waited out weather for 6 hours.  The wind needed to decrease, and some rain needed to move through.

Leg 5

I then left for Madison.  Well, not really Madison (I avoided the class C entirely).  I avoided a squall line to the North, but then ended up colliding with it as I passed Madison on the south.  Using radar on my cellphone, and my visual view, I popped around the bad storm and ended up on the north side of the weather.  But the wind was still very turbulent, and the headwind was very strong, so rather than push on, I set down at Blackhawk airport, using the grass infield as my landing strip, so I could directly line up with the wind.  I ignored the paved runway.

Leg 4


My chase crew met me at Blackhawk and refueled me.  We had 90 minutes of daylight left, and a strong headwind.  I hopped in the ProCub and continued to Dodge County, where the plane spent the night.

We drove into OshKosh and spent the night in our rental house.

Monday morning, Neil and Christian drove me back to Dodge County, and I uneventfully flew the plane into the ultralight field at #Osh14 at around 9:30 in the morning.

I was elated.  Mission accomplished.


3 thoughts on “Technical Side of Flight to Oshkosh

  1. Nice description of you flight James. Another motivator for getting my Ultra Cub built and flying. Might even try for the spring of 2015!. Noted you managed to use about 2gph during the flight. Even if using only Aviation Fuel at a average $7 per gallon that is only $14.00 per hour.
    Steve Hulland

  2. There was an article in a recent EAA magazine about props. Point was made that a three blade prop is less noisy with less vibration that a two blade. You have been flying the Procub with the Pollinni with a three blade. Do you see any reduction in vibration or volume? Close to mounting my engine.

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